Are you interested in becoming a Director of Operations, but unsure if you have the skill set that is required?
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Today, I’m sharing the 11 different career paths that Director of Operations (DOOs) have been on before they get to the certification program. These types of professions make excellent DOOs, and it’s likely that you have many of the skills that are acquired from these different careers.
We are starting our 10th round of the DOO certification program. If you are interested, learn more and join the 170 women who are able to call themselves certified DOOs!
What IS A DOO?
DOOs are leaders who have innate gifts and skills in the operational space.
“DOOs think analytically, they communicate effectively and they execute efficiently.”
DOOs acquire, develop and deliver. This involves different types of resources such as staff, materials, equipment, and almost always involves technology.
Recently a previous client made a comment about my time in her business:
“You were the gap between planning and production.”
It doesn’t matter the industry you are in or the business model that you are participating in… there are operations involved in all of them. There is the front side of business (marketing) and the back side of business (operations) and those two pieces are critical for any business model. If you already have the gift of operations, you should be able to see very clearly where you fit, and this gives you a lot of autonomy to figure out the industries, models, or people you want to work with.
Operations is a “second” or “next” career… it is not a first job out of college. In the DOO space you need experience and innate leadership skills to come in at this level inside of a business.
When I look back over two decades of my own work experience, I see a common thread of service and leadership: being able to take in lots of information, break down complexity and manage projects and people to execute on a mission.
“I wanted impact, I wanted a legacy, rather than a job. I wanted to do work that brought me joy and still challenged me.”
All of this led me to becoming a DOO in other peoples businesses by accident. I was building a completely different business when I left corporate. But then I started connecting with friends and colleagues, and all of my gifts had me pouring into their businesses with strategy, operational focus, processes, building teams, hiring and simply making things happen.
I realized I was leveraging my innate skills with the clients I loved working with, and I came into partnership with people who I liked and was able to help them extract what their mission and vision were and make it a reality much faster. I never thought my corporate experience would collide with my natural skills and overlap my personal mission of impact.
At this point, I saw the need for a Director of Operations: a strategic and operational leader for small and online businesses. As I delivered a new level of care and leadership to businesses, the need was growing before my eyes, so I created this program to impact other women who had these same skills.
The Most Common Professions Before Becoming a DOO
These are the most common professions people perform before they arrive at the DOO program.
Admin looks different in every industry, but could include executive assistants, administrators, online business managers, office managers, or front desk staff. These people are masters of chaos and they bring order and find solutions through process. They are amazing with customer service and have a gift in creating and finding order in very complex situations.
Accountants & Bookkeepers
The basis behind both of these professions is data, and being able to mine data and create stories behind it. They execute, create processes and develop procedures for reconciling expenses and create complex reports that tell the story of health and profit inside a business.
Every business wants exposure to data and metrics so they can operate more efficiently and create the most profit. Financials is one of the five pillars inside of operations, so when people come to us with a background in the financial space, I see them expand and leverage their strategic gifts once they decide to become DOOs. The reports tell stories, and as DOOs we leverage reports to help leaders identify where the gaps are, how they can strategically plan forward, and if there are any operational shifts that need to be made.
We have had nurses and therapists who have come through the program. Those in the medical space take critical and complex information from doctors and turn it into empathy to critically connect with patients, to leverage analytical skills, and to create appropriate and consistent care plans. Nurses are masters of project management, human resources, and finding and leveraging strategy in any medical situation.
Web Design and Development
These are creatives that are capable of managing so many moving pieces. If you have been behind any web design project, you know how complex they can be. There are many milestones to this work and they create plans and execute while exercising their creative genius.
There is a lot that goes into being a leader or manager in a retail store. It is a combination of a CEO and a COO because they are responsible for everything inside of a store. You won’t find better management than a person who has served in this capacity. They have to think strategically but also execute every single day, customer by customer.
There are so many different facets in Human resources. Everything from building teams, hiring teams, performance and growth plans, initiating deep rich culture, benefits, or participating in leadership and development. There are so many different paths in HR, but at the center of all of them is the love of people. We channel people to create strategic plans and to help grow teams and businesses. The only way that scaling actually happens is through people. Those of you who have a background in HR or recruiting will have a knack for becoming a DOO.
Much like nurses, teachers have a pedigree in pedagogy, which is teaching others how to learn, but they also have to be process driven. The most effective teachers are strong leaders.
Your favorite teacher growing up was probably very nurturing, made you feel comfortable, but still taught you a whole lot along the way. They followed and created curriculums that made learning fun. Teachers make phenomenal operators because they are so used to juggling so much and still following and executing a plan.
This is the most universally known operations role in the universe. Operations in the military execute on a strategic plan. Every mission from combat to intelligence, logistics, or pilots has to have operators. We have had many former military members who have recognized the skills that they had and wanted to leverage them. The military allowed them to see their process skills and leadership strengths.
If this is a career path you have been on, you know that project management is about
developing a plan, communicating a plan, and leading a plan. Project managers bring calm to chaos. They support others in fulfilling those tasks. They navigate shortcomings, late
deadlines, and evaluate goals. These ladies are analytical, leaders, and communicators. They know how to create, execute, and manage the plan.
Event Management Professionals
This is very similar to both project managers and retail store managers. They add skills like negotiation and have a very strong presence. The skill of being decisive and making a decision on the spot is very important in event management. They are extremely efficient, and also great people leaders, because the only way to get through an event is to leverage a team (be it managing volunteers, or coordinating with sponsors or speakers). There is a lot of innovation that comes out of this profession.
Several people come to us with a background in business. They found their passion and created a revenue stream, but when they got into it they realized they enjoyed the fulfillment of the product more than the marketing and they want to stay in their zone. Once you find your industry, look around and see what your gifts are. It may cause you to take a turn.
If you identify with any of these skill sets, you need to look at the DOO certification program and see how you can create impact leveraging the natural skills that you have!
Learn more about the DOO program, and join us in our upcoming round starting June 10th!
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